babel 6

we don’t know the name of the plant
we want to know the name of the plant
carroty liquid streams out when we break
the stem; strange substance of meaning
I would dip my finger into
to draw my hieroglyphs on your forehead
but there is no credit in the phonemes that pour out of my mouth
shrivelled cherries half rotten papayas not worth purchasing
ok I find diphthongs embarrassing to say the way you do
lips need to be elastic slugs in the act of androgynous love
but look at these unusually shaped fruits I dare you to eat them
roll them in your sinuses and spit the pips drawing accents
on a vowel bearing öszibarack or málna; say it little by little
say it and then take a look at the tiny boy
who sits in silence on the stone floor
in the garden near a pot of flowers
reaches out for a handful of soil from time to time
to chew and then to swallow smiling with black teeth

by Agnes Lehoczky

© Agnes Lehoczky, 2008

Agnes Lehoczky was born in 1976 in Budapest. Her work has appeared in a number of online and print publications both in Hungary and in the UK. Budapest to Babel, published by Egg Box in October 2008, is her first collection in English. A second is due from Egg Box later this year.

‘babel 6’ is from a sequence of poems entitled ‘garden dialogues’, which appear in Budapest to Babel, a lively and rewarding collection about the difficulties and joys of language. Often poignant, always inventive, the book explores states of confusion and chaos, playfulness and delight, with a freshness of style and tone. Find out more about the book at this page, where you can also watch Agnes Lehoczky reading from her book at the Hungarian Cultural Centre in London last year.

Egg Box is a small, independent poetry publisher based in Norwich, run by poet Nathan Hamilton. It is rapidly establishing a strong reputation for its freshness of approach and keen eye for talented newcomers. Click here to visit Egg Box’s website.

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